Reporting Mike Campbell
WARREN (WWJ) - Van Dyke Public Schools in Warren are closed Friday because of bus vandalism.
A recording from the Superintendent’s office says: “Today is Friday, December 16 and due to a transportation problem, the district will be closed today.”
WWJ’s Mike Campbell was live at the scene, where the district’s 20 buses are kept in a bus yard at 9 Mile and Hoover.
Van Dyke Superintendent Joseph Pius said thieves broke into the bus yard by cutting a hole in the fence. He said the crooks stole three batteries each from 15 buses, leaving only five in operation.
“They came through somebody’s yard, cut the fence and came in. There are three batteries in each bus and they got each one of the three. These people knew what they were doing. The interesting part of this is that they did not cut the cables. They actually took the time to undo each of the cables, to unbolt them as opposed to cutting them. So, they had some time to get in there,” said Pius.
The district is working with their insurance company to get the buses back in operation for Monday, but Pius said the replacements are going to be costly for the district.
“This will cost us probably about $4,000 to $5,000 to replace,” he said.
Pius said the district does not have security cameras at the facility and so far, no suspects.
“So they can sell them on the streets someplace. I’m sure that’s what happened. So if there are any salvage groups out there that may be approached by somebody with a whole stock full of batteries to please contact the police,” said Pius.
The district is talking to the transportation board about options to install security cameras at the lot.
Police say an investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Warren Police Department at 586-574-4700.